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Humanities Libertexts

9: Centaurs

  • Page ID
    15343
  • Half-man, half-horse creatures

    Centaurs (sometimes called hippocentaurs) were creatures with the torso and head of a man and the body of a horse. As befits their part-beast, part-human status, they had trouble controlling their passions.  Also, they had a strong taste for wine but could not hold their liquor. At the wedding of the Lapith, Peirithoüs, they all got very drunk and abducted all the women present, including the bride. The Lapiths fought back, along with Peirithoüs’ good friend, Theseus, and most of the centaurs were killed or banished. There were, however, a few civilized centaurs, such as Pholus, who helped Heracles in his battle against the centaurs [see the 12 Labors of Heracles], and the immortal Chiron, who served as the teacher and mentor of several heroes, such as Jason, Asclepius, and Achilles.

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